Imagine having the opportunity of a lifetime. You’ve put in the time, you’ve counted the cost, and you’ve put everything on the line for this one moment - the job you’ve always wanted. However, as the days, months, and year pass, you begin to discover that the novelty has begun to wear off. The excitement that was there at the beginning is fading, and you wake up one day… alone. Everything that used to make up your life has been lost to the never-ending battle for your work identity - and it has cost you everything.
The reality of losing yourself in the identity of your job is not a new concept. Around the world, men and women are waking up daily realizing that they have spent their best years slaving away to a job or opportunity that ultimately leaves them empty. Not only do they fill empty, but they have also been left alone as they have pushed everyone away in an attempt to reach the top of the ladder.
Psychologists have defined a term known as “enmeshment” to describe when the boundaries between people and their jobs have become blurred, and individual identities lose importance. Enmeshment prevents the development of a stable, independent sense of self. How can you begin to wake up to the true you?
Don’t Lose Your Soul to Your Work
Many individuals find that when they actually reach the coveted position that they have always wanted, they are left empty. In fact, the high-pressure and winner-take-all mentality that it takes to reach the top can often cost you everything. This “enmeshment” can leave you feeling hopeless, as the thing you wanted most has left you with less than you started with.
With a position at the top comes a price that many don’t anticipate. While you have the opportunity, the pay, and the ability to live the life you’ve always wanted, you may find yourself there alone. You have lost the friends who stood by you when you were just getting started. You’ve lost touch with the family who gave their all to support you. You may even look in the mirror the morning and ask “Why are you?”
Tips to Wake Up and Regain Your Identity
An ongoing pattern of enmeshment in your work can lead to burnout, isolation, and depression. Not to mention, a life lived for yourself can alienate those who were most important to you. If you feel that you may be living for your work rather than who you truly are, consider these simple tips to recalibrate:
● Open up your schedule for activities and people other than work.
● Start small with some easy hobbies and activities that used to bring you joy.
● Reach out to your network - new and old - to rekindle relationships that may have fizzled out over time.
● Land on your true priorities. Decide what matters to you above all else. If you lost this job, what would you have left to fall on?
● Define your identity outside of your job. Decide today who you will be.
When you finally begin to separate yourself from your work, you will discover a whole new world of humility and integrity that will lead you to true success. When you open yourself back up to the world outside of your job, you will give space to things that truly give you value and leave a lasting mark on the world.